6,500 primary schools register to deliver EEF Promising Project backed by Government Covid ‘catch-up’ funding

The Education Endowment Foundation has welcomed the announcement from the Department for Education that 6,500 primary schools – more than one-third of all England’s primary schools – will begin delivering one of the EEF’s Promising Projects, the Nuffield Early Language Intervention (NELI) in 2021.

The Nuffield Early Language Intervention programme – regarded as the most well-evidenced early years language programme in the country – has been offered at no cost to primary schools as part of the Government’s Covid ‘catch-up’ funding package announced last summer. It is estimated that 62,500 children aged 4-5 will benefit from the 20-week intervention, which will begin in schools in February.

Developed by world-leading researchers, NELI involves scripted individual and small-group language teaching sessions delivered by a trained teaching assistant or early years educators to children identified as being in need of targeted language support. It has been robustly tested through several trials, including two funded by the EEF. The most recent, involving 193 schools, found that children who received NELI made, on average, +3 months of additional progress in oral language skills compared to children who did not receive NELI.

As a result of its strong evidence base, NELI has been designated as one of the EEF's Promising Projects. Its rapid expansion has been made possible through an EEF development pilot of an online training model with the financial support of ICG, which is supporting the EEF to scale up our Promising Projects.

Professor Becky Francis, Chief Executive of the EEF, commented:

“Today’s announcement marks an encouraging development in our collective efforts to counteract the detrimental impact of the pandemic on young pupils’ learning.

"Our research has repeatedly shown that the Nuffield Early Language Intervention can be effective in supporting and accelerating the development of early literacy and language skills. I am hopeful that its success will soon be replicated in classrooms across the country, when delivery begins early next year.”